Friday was check-in day at the Route 6 Liquor store for me. They were the only bottle shop around that sells Unibroue’s Don de Dieu (gift of god) which I had taken a new liking to. I grabbed a 4-pack and scanned the rest of the craft beers available. Probably 3 out of 5 times, the store will have a good beer candidate for a Saturday night review, thus saving me the trip to Joliet.
Friday was one of those 3 of 5 days. I spotted a rather plain bomber with rather simplistic text. It was brewed by Alesmith out of San Diego and their beers just started making it to this area a few weeks ago. The beer I was interested in was their IPA. No fancy shmancy name, no Gothic or picturesque scenery. Just plain old IPA. It almost looked as if it came out of an ammo box. A quick check of the description on the back of the painted label made mention of grapefruit, tangerine and tropical fruits. That was right up my alley. I grabbed two.
I’ve heard a thing or two about Alesmith recently and figured that they were a new and up-comer to the craft beer scene. Man, was I ever wrong. Alesmith has been brewing beer since 1995 and I found that their IPA had a perfect score on Rate Beer and was very highly rated on that other site. Lucky me. Perhaps some newfound admiration for another brewery. But we’ll let the beer speak for itself.
It was time for some IPA, so let’s dive right in.
The beer poured like many other IPAs out there, yellow-orange in color with a white frothy head. The liquid was slightly hazy and small micro-bubbles rose from the bottom. The aroma had more presence than others, yielding citrusy and piney smells.
The first sip was great. Many flavors burst onto the fresh palate. This would take a few more sips to sort them all out. The beer had a medium body and the swallow was crisp but not raspy. Some taste like a grapefruit rind was left after the swallow. Slightly sweet at the beginning with an odd mixture of citrus flavors in the middle that played well with each other.
The typical hop bitterness was rather subdued and I suspect that the varieties used in this beer recipe brought just s little something to the table. Together, they created a flavor character that was a bit odd, but quite tasty. Mixed in the mishmash were a bit of tropical fruit, maybe some nectarine, also some pine. Alesmith lists this beer as having 73 IBUs.
The more I sipped the beer, the more I liked it. I started to admire the brewmasters for their choice of hops in this recipe. All that’s revealed about the hops in this beer is the fact that they’re all American varieties. I looked up a DIY clone recipe from BYO (Brew Your Own) magazine and found that the hops used were, in fact all American, and there were 5 different American varieties all utilized in very small portions through the brewing process. Over ten ounces of hops in many additions.
I sipped with an unseen smile on my face and started thinking… did this beer taste just like 3Floyds’ Zombie Dust? …… No, but it was just as tasty and very drinkable. This was an exercise in perfection. Yeah, in my opinion, this was the standard by which all IPAs should be measured. This could very well be Alesmith’s flagship beer.
The beer doesn’t grab you by the tonsils when it’s going down and the malts that come along are perfectly matched. Not harsh, not dank, but rather fruity and delicious. Time to ratchet up Alesmith’s reputation a few notches in my book.
The SixPackTech summary for Alesmith IPA:
Style: American IPA
Taste: Odd at first but very fruity and delicious further on.
Smoothness: Not a bite in a bottle.
Drinkability: Very easy going down. I’ll have another.
Bang for the buck: Can’t beat it for the taste.
Amount paid: $6.99 per 22-ounce bottle. That’s hard to beat.
Get it again? Absolutely!
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Smells bitter. Almost smells hot. (sip) Hmm… (sip) There’s some dryness but it’s almost got a little sweetness to it a second or two later. (sip) That’s not bad for an IPA. Not bad. (Her smeller was off, but her taster was right on. She’s starting to sound like an expert.)
Alesmith interview [9:13]